Monday, February 10, 2014

life unraveling

This Saturday I had the opportunity to experience a bit of If: Gathering at a tiny If: Local event (Thank you to those girls who let me come to a session!) I didn't see all of the speakers, but I was able to catch some of the ones I previously missed on livestream.com yesterday (and they were still available as of Monday morning if you're interested). I heard Christine Caine gave an amazing talk on Friday, so I hope to listen to that later this afternoon, but I want to share some words that stuck with me from Rebekah Lyons and Jen Hatmaker. (Disclaimer...I am writing for myself, not necessarily to teach anyone anything. I write to learn.)

Rebekah Lyons -- (So SO good, and she just came out with a new book, Free Fall to Fly, which made me think of my earlier post about free falling. Guess I need to buy that book now!)

She began by quoting Psalm 139 from memory. Now I must commit that one to memory, as well.

She then pointed out a statement from Viktor Frankl, author of a truly great book called Man's Search for Meaning: "Anxiety is the result of unfulfilled responsibility." Anxiety, then, exists when we are not living out our purpose. (Rebekah and her husband moved to NYC based on their calling, yet she began having anxiety attacks in the big city and determined that they were the result of unfulfilled responsibilities and failure to live out her own purpose.)

Two questions:
1. "What are your birthright gifts?"
2. "What makes you come alive?"

"Calling is where your talents and your burdens collide."
"Burdens arise from broken hearts."

And with those above two statements, she had my full attention. These are questions I've been asking myself and answers I needed to hear. (But Rebekah puts everything so much more elegantly than I do!)

Jen Hatmaker -- Super good talk. She spoke about when "they" become "us," as we join together with those who are hurt and suffering and become like them to help them. She based it on the last Passover meal, when Jesus said His body would be broken and His blood poured out. I believe this idea alone has the potential to rock the very foundation of every Christian's life if we will let it, yet it can start so small: One meal served at the homeless shelter; one widow needing a servant-hearted helper; one child needing someone to care. It is a pulled threat that unravels an entire sweater; once you pull it, you can't help but continue to see how it's all connected. Her illustration: "We started by awkwardly talking to a homeless person and now we have two Ethiopians living in our house." (They adopted...)


Quickly, let me tell you how my thread is unraveling:

A small desire to honor a woman's decision to continue giving her unplanned child life helped us make the a decision to adopt domestically....

Experiencing that one domestic adoption child led to an increased understanding of the gospel of adoption....
This led to an increased desire to educate people to whom adoption or the gospel--or both--can seem so very foreign...

Seeing the picture of adoption in Scripture--God saying "I will not leave you as orphans"--led to an unstoppable desire to adopt again, this time with the intention of impacting lives that are at risk in a country where 1 in 5 children do not live past age five...

That led to BROKEN HEARTS as we learned that the lack of access to clean water (dysentery) killed 33 of 52 children (including twins we hoped to adopt) in an orphanage in a remote jungle town in DR Congo...

Our broken hearts became BURDENED HEARTS for and in the remote village in Africa, and we shared info about the dysentery outbreak and helped our agency gather monetary donations to help...

 (Our adoption agency is now providing supplies and equipment to provide clean water and saving lives)...

Our broken hearts became burdened for orphans everywhere, including the ones in our own city (whom we really didn't know much about to begin with)...

And now here I am writing things on Facebook like "Hey, these five kids in Oregon need a family. If Brad and I could afford to feed all of them, this would be an easy yes." And I truly meant it...

All of this, coming from a girl who wanted a family of two kids at the most, who liked to be in control, who had other plans...

And all of this has led to what I believe is a calling that has required me to resign from my teaching job, spend more time loving my kids at home and far away, and use my talent (writing...minimal talent as it may be) to advocate, educate, and encourage as much as possible...

I don't know exactly what will come of all this. God dangled a thread in front of us, we pulled it, and now life is unraveling and God is making something new and exceptionally more beautiful.

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
The beast of the field shall honor me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
Isaiah 43:18-21